Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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A fire truck and a New York City Transit Bus collided on Sunday in queens seriously injuring 14 people.

The fire engine was headed to assist with a fire with its emergency lights on when it was struck by a Q100 MTA bus in the Ditmars Blvd. and 21st St. intersection in Astoria at 12:20 p.m..   Police department and EMS arrived on the scene quickly.

Under the law of New York, an emergency vehicle may operate its vehicle when responding to an emergency.  This is covered by Section 1104 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law.  However, in order to be protected by this statute the emergency vehicle must still not act with reckless disregard for the safety of others.

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When I first started this firm over 17 years ago, often the first decision I or my associates had to make when taking on a matter is where would we bring or start the action.  The first thing to consider is jurisdiction.  Jurisdiction essentially means the ability for a Court in the State of New York to hear the action.  Though this can be discussed in great length, if we take a car accident for example, the Courts of the State of New York always have jurisdiction as if you drive a car in NY and get into an accident you have subjected yourself to being sued in New York.  The next and sometimes more important question is where within the New York Court system can you venue the case.

Venue is a choice of which county the case can be brought and is controlled by  CPLR Section 503.

Under the venue provisions one may bring a lawsuit in a county in which they are a resident, the defendant is a resident, or if a corporation, where the corporation principal executive office is.  Again if we focus on the car accident arena for this article, you can look to the residence for the parties and choose.  If suing a municipality like the City of New York or any City agency you must venue the case in the county in which the accident occurred.  If all parties are not from any County in New York but the accident occurs in New York, the Plaintiff may choose any county he or she wishes.

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Under most automobile insurance policies, there is coverage for Uninsured or Underinsurance Coverage.  What this means is that if you are in a car accident and the car that is responsible for the accident is uninsured (unknown or carrying no insurance) or underinsured (has less insurance than you carry) you can seek to recover benefits for pain and suffering from your own automobile insurance policy.  Learn more about this coverage in New York with a New York State Bar Assocation memo. 

A sample of where this coverage is on your policy:

Sadly, the responsibility of the insurance company to fairly and fully compensate its own insured is almost arbitrary and lacks any ability to hold the carrier responsible for acting in bad faith if they do not negotiate fairly.

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One of the most common injuries sustained by those involved in an accident is a back or neck injury.  Many consider these “soft tissue” injuries and the term has been used by insurance companies to diminish the significance of the injury.

In fact, a disc injury which is really a connective tissue injury can be more debilitating and significant than a fracture to a bone.  A fracture can often heal and or calcify.  A disc injury to the spine will never return to the anatomic design it was in before the trauma.

Simply put a herniated disc is a rupture to the intervertebral discs that separate the vertebrae running from the base of our skull to our coccyx or sacrum.  In all we have 33 discs and they act as shock absorbers for the body.  They allow the spine to move, bend, function in a normal way.

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Leav & Steinberg attorney Edward Averbuch obtained a $250,000 jury verdict in Kings County for a client who suffered a herniated disc and lumbar radiculopathy in a motor vehicle accident. The verdict came after the conclusion of a four-day trial where defendants called two medical experts and claimed our client’s injury was degenerative in nature and less severe than his treating physician diagnosed. The defendant’s last settlement offer before the verdict was $10,000.

Under New York No-Fault Law § 5102 in order to recover for personal injuries as a result of an auto accident a plaintiff must prove that he or she sustained a serious injury. No-Fault Law § 5102 defines a “serious injury” as a personal injury which results in:

1. death;

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Sadly, pedestrian knockdown accidents are all too common in New York City these days.  The the increase in traffic and the growing population, car accidents and pedestrians being struck are more common than ever.  This came to light and destroyed a family this past week in Brooklyn.

51 year old Choo Tain was struck and killed by an alleged stolen vehicle that first collided with another car at the intersection of East 94th Street and Avenue K.  They were both on the sidewalk when, as a result of the first collision, the stolen vehicle mounted the sidewalk and struck her and her husband who also sustained serious injuries.

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Despite the backlog of court cases and slowdown in the Court system, Leav & Steinberg LLP was successful in resolving a case for a man despite the fact that the defendant claimed that the accident was caused by our client and that his injuries were not related or serious.

Brooklyn, New York is among the largest most populated cities in America.  Car accident’s occur all the time.  Most of the time, the parties are able to work out their disputes amicably.  Here a nice older man claimed he was rear ended by a driver while travelling near Ocean Avenue and Avenue N.  The other drive claimed our client the cause of the accident as he alleged our client cut him off in traffic.  Despite the defendant taking this position we pushed ahead and took the deposition of the defendant driver.  Partner, Daniel Leav was successful in proving that the driver’s version attempting to blame our accident was not credible. After two years of denying liability, the defendant reached out to our office and we were able to obtain an excellent result for our client.

$175,000.00 recovery obtained for a 64 year old man who claims he was rear ended by a car.  The defendant car claimed our client turned suddenly into his path of travel.  The client sustained a shoulder injury among other injuries and underwent a shoulder arthroscopic surgery.  While a motion as to whether the injuries were serious and related was pending the matter was settled for a figure representing full value.

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On February 27, 2015, at 4:00AM, a vehicle traveling in the wrong direction on Sprain Brook Parkway, between Route 100 B and the Heatherdell Road overpass in Greenburgh, Westchester County, violently collided head-on with a vehicle that was traveling the in the right direction on that roadway.

The impact was so heavy, that it propelled the vehicle over the highway’s guardrail, pinning the driver inside his vehicle. The first responders who arrived at the scene had to use the jaws of life to cut the vehicle to reach the driver to administer medical attention. The accident resulted in the driver’s death.

During their investigation, the police officers noticed a strong smell of alcohol coming from the driver of the vehicle that was traveling in the wrong direction, as well as drugs inside of his vehicle.

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On February 11, 2015, a black-car driver, while approaching a stopped vehicle in front of him on the West Side Highway in Manhattan, rammed his car into the back of that vehicle, causing his car to veer to the left and smash into the metal posts that divide the road. The driver failed to reduce the speed of his car, failed to maintain a safe distance between the front of his car and the rear of the vehicle stopped in front of him and completely failed to depress the brakes at any time before the accident to attempt to stop his vehicle. The accident resulted in the death of the back seat passenger, Bob Simon, who was rushed that evening to the hospital with devastating head/neck injuries. Since the happening of the accident, it was revealed the driver had his license suspended nine times, the driver’s dispatch received emails from other passengers complaining about his driving and the driver’s superiors received complaints from his fellow co-workers who reported his erratic driving just days before the fatal accident. The black-car was equipped with an event data recorder that will be crucial to piece together the events leading up to the accident. The driver claims he was struck by an unknown vehicle that caused him to black out and lose control of the cab. However, witnesses at the scene of the accident, stated this is not so, but that the driver slammed on the gas pedal and accelerated his vehicle causing it to ram into the rear of the stopped vehicle in front of him. The driver never depressed on the brake pedal at any time before the crash. It is important to demand and send out immediate requests to preserve all event data recorders from any car accident–particularly so with livery cabs and/or medallion taxis which now come equipped with the devices.

Post: Co-worker warned limo boss about Bob Simon’s “erratic” driver

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In the morning of February 13, 2015, at about 8:45AM, a 15-year old girl was walking across Grand Street when she was struck by a MTA bus. The girl was walking across the street with the pedestrian light in her favor within the crosswalk, when the Q59 attempted a left turn onto Grand Street, causing the bus to pin the girl under its left front wheel. The accident happened at or near southbound Union Avenue and Grand Street in Brooklyn, New York. The MTA bus driver was arrested, charged with violation of highway law and issued various appearance tickets after the accident. The MTA bus failed to yield the right of way to a pedestrian who was within the crosswalk, and walking across the street with the signal in her favor. The MTA bus should have waited before even attempting the left turn, until the crosswalk was free and clear of pedestrians. There were several witnesses to the accident. The girl suffered severe injuries to her leg, which was shattered from the impact with the bus. She was removed from the scene and transported to the emergency room of Bellevue Hospital.